If there’s a genre that I genuinely hate, it’s the so-called “coming-of-age” genre with its sterile and formulaic vision of a young man or a woman’s’ journey towards adulthood. The genre I like is the “cuming-of-age” with such movies as Dazed and Confused, The Rules of Attraction or more serious The Chumscrubber, Kids, and others. Yeah, they don’t fit the official definition but you will learn more from them than the usual genre front-runners. Back to the movie, Cemetery Junction is written and directed by an amazing Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and this was the only reason why I decided to check it out. I know that dreary 1970s English industrial towns don’t sound appealing but as always the characters make the story. And the story is good, as timeless as it gets. Although this movie could be labeled as a story about outsiders, I think that the ugly truth is that it’s a story about a whole town, a whole generation, and a whole class of outsiders. Life is a cruel mistress, no doubt about that.
It’s the early 1970s in England and three friends: Freddie, Bruce, and Snork are spending their days doing what they do best. They like going out, drinking, and having fun, but future looms over their lives as they must decide whether they should leave their small town in search of big dreams or just settle in a familiar environment. Add to this raging hormones and families and you got yourself a classic story of a teenager turning into a man…
The main problem of this movie are the cliches that are so prevalent that they almost ruined the whole movie! However, if you can get past them and take in the story from a different angle, you can really enjoy this movie. One of the perspectives that you can take, as a neutral observer, is a perspective of the system of values. This notion that life has these predetermined stages and you have to go through them in order to fulfill yourself as a person and also, more importantly, to fulfill your duty towards society. I think that you can already sense what I think about this shit, but I don’t want to bore you.
Being a period drama, it has a perfect atmosphere and the setting that takes you back to the seventies immediately. Not to mention the music that probably will make the older folks here dust off some old-school records. Although labeled as a comedy, this is actually a “dramedy”, with the drama part a bit more serious than we are used to in these movies. This does not influence the flow and pace, and Cemetery Junction flows at an even rate for an hour and a half. It shows us Britain in a different light than its gloomy predecessors who focused entirely on that dark and self-destructive atmosphere. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle. I remember watching Lemmy talking about his childhood and how they used to gather around the phone booth during those cold and depressing nights in northern Wales. The reason for this was the fact that the phone booth was the only thing that was emitting light in his town during the night…
Directors: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Writer:s Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Cast: Tom Hughes, Christian Cooke, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, Ricky Gervais, Jack Doolan
Fun Facts: All the night sequences were shot during the day.